Solons drum up support for P20-B DepEd budget for printing of modules

Leaders of the House of Representatives appealed Thursday (Oct. 15)  to their colleagues to support their proposed P20-billion budget augmentation for the Department of Education’s printing of self-learning modules (SLMs) for this year. 

During the House of Representatives’ plenary deliberations on the DepEd’s proposed P606. 47-billion budget for 2021, Bohol 1st District Rep. Edgar Chatto asked colleagues to "really look seriously to increasing the budgetary allocation” of the agency for the printing and reproduction of learning modules.

"The proposal from the DepEd says P40 billion is being needed. Both unprogrammed funds and regular allocation only total P20 billion so practically we are only funding half of the requirement,” he said.

"In the most appropriate time when amendments will be accepted, I hope, and I would like to appeal that this increase in budget is very, very necessary and should be included in the amendments,” said Chatto, chairperson of House Special Committee on Climate Change.

Chatto, along with Negros Oriental 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, earlier filed House Resolution No. 1274 strongly urging the House Committee on Appropriations to effect the budget augmentation for the printing and reproduction of learning modules under DepEd’s 2021 budget to ensure the “effective” implementation of its distance learning education for school year 2021-2022.

Limkaichong, sponsor of the agency’s spending plan, said the number of modules actually needed by the DepEd for the first quarter is 1.1 billion.

Chatto also expressed serious concerns that remaining funds needed for printing modules including bond paper will have to be generated from the Special Education Fund (SEF) and the Brigade Eskwela.

"The SEF in local government is not that much actually, it is only generated some percent from real property taxes and for small communities especially in rural areas, this is very,  very small amount, larger maybe in cities where the real property taxes are higher. In other words, we cannot say that this could be the main source of the fund,  it could be supplementary but not really a primary source of fund for this purpose,” he said.